The Ferndale Wildcats and Fortuna Huskies notched lopsided league wins this past weekend to move on to the final weekend of the regular season of high school football. It was a feel-good night for Fortuna Huskies football last Friday as senior night was celebrated with a varsity and junior varsity win over visiting McKinleyville. The following afternoon it was the Ferndale Wildcats turn as double home wins over league foe South Fork made for a excellent weekend of football in the Eel River Valley.
The Fortuna Huskies were out to take care of business as they played host to Big 5, last place team, the McKinleyville Panthers, etching a 29-6 win.
The Huskies got two touchdown runs from backfield mates, Travis Milich and Brett Renner and added an impressive 34-yard field goal by place kicker Bryant Head for all the offense they would need. McKinleyville's most impressive drive of the game netted their only score as 15 plays covered 80 yards ended by Dalton Wheeler's one yard touchdown run. Fortuna's Josh Simmons recovered a second half fumble by the Panthers and the Huskies locked up another win against the Panthers. It has been since 2004 that McKinleyville has beaten Fortuna on the football field.
The junior varsity contest was a little closer as the Panthers hung around for a half. Husky Dante Viggers opened the scoring with a 6 yard run in the first period. McKinleyville came up with an answer and it was a one point ball game going into the 2nd period. The Panthers then went up 12-7 at the 8:42 mark of the 2nd quarter. Hard running by Fortuna fullback Daniel Villalvazo paced the Huskies and his 22 yard touchdown run gave the lead back to the home team. As the 2nd quarter clock wore down a Husky drive was interrupted by an interception from Panther Hunter Calvert. However, his exciting runback ended with a loose ball and Viggers recovered for Fortuna. Given a 2nd chance, the Huskies cashed in with a 15 yard scamper to the end zone by quarterback Zach Hugh. The Huskies led 21-12 at the half.
Fortuna came right out and took the 2nd half opening kickoff and marched right down to a score, Cole Halley running in a 6 yard touchdown. The Panthers looked for a spark and thought they had one with a 55 yard pass reception, but that was called back due to penalty. McKinleyville also caught a break when they recovered a touched ball on a punt. However, linebacker Villalvazo recorded a quarterback sack and the Panthers had to punt again. The Huskies responded with a 6 play drive and on the first play of the final period, Villalvazo ran in a 10 yard touchdown. Fortuna place kicker Ryan Wiegman booted 5 of 5 PATs in the game to account for the Huskies 35-12 win.
Junior varsity defender Dylan Kepon added an interception and Jasper Bernstein recovered a fumble to keep McKinleyville at bay. The Huskies improved to 4-2 in league and 5-4 overall.
Last Saturday the Ferndale Wildcats laid the smack down on the visiting South Fork Cubs. The Cats did it with startling efficiency as they exploded to a 27-0 lead after just six offensive plays and two defensive pass interceptions. The onslaught also came about before the Cubs had their initial first down from scrimmage. Lineman Chris Catana threw a touchdown pass to receiver Dakota Ward that had most in attendance left scratching their heads. Ferndale quarterback Kyle Chambers ran in a 17-yard touchdown that was followed with an interception by teammate Wyatt Standley. His subsequent 15 yard return to the end zone gave Ferndale a 20-0 lead.
Ferndale's Justin Lang intercepted yet another Cub pass and running back Zach Rocha followed with a 2-yard score and at the 5:43 mark, the Cats held a 27-0 lead. South Fork did have a measure of success finally moving the ball and QB Joey Wittlake's touchdown pass to Troy Langley of 46 yards put the Cubs on the board. Justin Lang returned to the starting lineup after having injury problems in recent weeks and his startling 36-yard run to the end zone gave the Cats another score. On the first play of the second quarter, Lang added a 27-yard touchdown pass to Standley on a halfback pass.
Wide receiver Dakota Ward caught his second touchdown pass of the first half, a 16-yard toss from QB Kyle Chambers. South Fork responded with another touchdown pass but was still losing ground on the scoreboard. When Justin Lang erupted for 50 yards from scrimmage to another Ferndale touchdown to make it 50-20, there were still four minutes to play before the half. Ferndale opened the 2nd half with another Ward touchdown grab, this time 37 yards worth of real estate. Jacoby Hughes grabbed Ferndale's third interception of the game and Zach Rocha ran up the gut for 53 yards to set up another Wildcat score, so it was fitting that Rocha do the honors from 2 yards out. Ferndale's Riley Foster recovered a fumble and Chris Catana led the defense with two sacks and other tackles for losses. South Fork added a 4th quarter safety and touchdown to end it at 69-28.
The Ferndale Wildcats junior varsity stayed unbeaten in league with their 40-0 win over the South Fork Cubs. Ferndale running back Cody Allen was his usual dazzling self as he carried the rock 14 times for 133 yards and a touchdown. Allen also showed off his versatility as he threw a 54-yard halfback touchdown pass to Bradley Martin. Fullback Clayton Wiseman scored twice, once to open the scoring on a 4-yard dive and later he cracked off a 55 yard gallop to the end zone. Wildcat backup quarterback Kyle Burns bulled in a 2-yard score and Allen's touchdown run came in the third period to give Ferndale a 34-point lead.
Heck Cody Allen even came up with in an interception of a Cub pass to stop a drive. As did Bradley Martin as his pick led to Ferndale's final score, a one yard dive by Ryan Isaacs. Place kicker Ryan Klopper booted four PATs through the uprights and defensively he added a fourth quarter sack of the South Fork quarterback.
Photos by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon
1. Ferndale Wildcat wide receiver Dakota Ward leaps into the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown reception in Saturday's league contest versus South Fork.